Gynostemma Weight Loss Secrets: All You Need to Know
Jul 17, 2023 | Read Time: 25 min.
Key Jiaogulan (Gynostemma Pentaphyllum) Weight Loss Effects
- Helps you burn more calories and fat.
- Can help prevent weight gain due to a high-fat diet.
- Can help reduce appetite and food cravings.
- Can reduce insulin resistance, which can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
- Can rebalance good and bad bacteria in your gut, helping your body to better digest and absorb food.
- Can improve your workouts by increasing your energy levels and athletic performance.
- Can improve mood and reduce stress levels, making you less likely to turn to food as a source of comfort or distraction due to stress.
If you are among the increasing number of people worldwide who struggle with being overweight, you are likely aware that the issue extends beyond being unhappy with your appearance and having lower self-esteem.
Excess weight can also increase your chances of developing diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even cancer.
You may also know how hard it is to lose weight and keep it off.
In many cases, this struggle may be due to problems with your metabolism, or how your body uses food and energy. Maintaining a healthy weight can be an almost insurmountable challenge without addressing these metabolic issues.
Fortunately, an herb known as Gynostemma pentaphyllum, also called Jiaogulan or southern ginseng, can help improve your metabolic health, making your journey towards a healthier and slimmer version of yourself smoother and easier.
Jiaogulan is an extraordinary adaptogenic herb with a centuries-long reputation in China for its extensive range of health benefits. Modern science is now confirming its remarkable therapeutic properties, including its ability to help you lose weight in various ways, which we will explore in this article.
Before we delve deeper, however, we want to make it clear that using Jiaogulan is not a magic quick fix to your weight-related problems.
Unfortunately, no miracle remedy exists that will shed pounds for you without your active participation.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is dishonest and probably trying to scam you.
The only way to achieve lasting results is to follow a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and regular exercise.
That said, Jiaogulan can make your weight loss journey easier and help you see faster results.
Losing weight is a tough challenge for most of us and we can use all the help we can get.
Often, the little things we do can make a big difference between success and failure.
How Does Gynostemma Help You Lose Weight?
Based on the currently available evidence from human and animal studies, Gynostemma’s benefits for weight loss are due to its positive effects on different aspects of body metabolism.
- It can activate a molecule called AMPK, which can stop your body from making more fat and cause it to use up the fat it already has, lowering your body fat and triglyceride (cholesterol) levels.
- Using Gynostemma can also improve your cells’ sensitivity to insulin and lower insulin and sugar levels in the blood, which not only helps prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease but also weight gain and obesity.
- Gynostemma also affects your gut microbiota, which are the bacteria that live in the intestines. The gut microbiota can influence your metabolism and appetite. By balancing the ratio of good to bad bacteria, the herb can improve your metabolic health and prevent weight gain and obesity.
Apart from these direct influences, Gynostemma may have effects that can help you lose weight indirectly.
- Because Gynostemma is an excellent adaptogen, it aids to reduce stress and anxiety and can therefore reduce emotional eating, where we use food as a coping mechanism when we are stressed out.
- Furthermore, Gynostemma can help you shed pounds by giving you extra energy and improving your athletic performance. This can make your workouts easier, more enjoyable, and more effective, which helps you burn more calories and stick to your exercise plan for the long term.
We will investigate all of these properties of Jiaogulan for weight loss in greater detail in the following sections.
Jiaogulan - AMPK Activator That Burns Calories and Body Fat
AMPK (Adenosine 5′ monophosphate-activated protein kinase), is an enzyme that regulates how your body uses energy. It acts as a master switch for energy balance and tells your cells when to stop storing fat and when to start burning it.
In addition, AMPK helps our cells get rid of waste (autophagy), make more mitochondria (the cell’s power plants), and take in more sugar from the blood.
Depending on where in the body it has been activated, AMPK can also increase or decrease your appetite. For example, activation in the brain increases your hunger, while activation elsewhere reduces it.
AMPK is important for weight loss because it can increase your energy levels and boost your metabolism to burn more calories and fat.
However, AMPK activity decreases as you age, and this makes it more difficult to lose weight.
Some activities that you can do to activate AMPK are calorie restriction, intermittent fasting, exercise, and taking certain supplements.
Gynostemma pentaphyllum is one of the few AMPK activators that you can take through diet.
Let’s review some of the research on how this ability seems to be key for the herb’s weight loss benefits.
A 2019 study published in the journal Nutrients showed that Gynostemma can fight obesity in mice that were fed a high-fat diet.
The researchers gave a Gynostemma pentaphyllum extract to obese mice for 12 weeks and found that Gynostemma helped the mice burn more calories and fat while eating less food.
This resulted in reduced total body weight and fat mass, food intake, and food efficiency ratio of the mice.
The researchers found that the herb can influence lipid metabolism by activating AMPK in fat tissue, which has been shown to help with obesity, and also stimulating another protein called SIRT1, which regulates gene expression and aging.
This, in turn, led to a decrease in another protein called PPARγ, which promotes fat creation and accumulation. As a result, the activity of genes involved in fat creation was reduced, while the activity of genes involved in fat breakdown was increased.
In other words, Gynostemma switched the fat tissue from storing mode to burning mode by activating AMPK and SIRT1 and suppressing PPARγ.
The researchers also found that Gynostemma lowered the blood sugar and cholesterol levels of the mice, which are symptoms of diabetes and cardiovascular risk.
Another study tested an extract containing only 2 of Jiaogulan’s 249 saponins, called actiponin, and had very similar results. Giving the extract to obese mice for 8 weeks caused them to lose weight, have smaller livers, and have lower cholesterol levels by turning on AMPK in their leg muscles.
Human Clinical Trials
The results of the animal actiponin study were further confirmed in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial with 80 overweight and obese males and females, half of whom were given actiponin pills and the other half placebo (fake) pills for 12 weeks.
The participants were instructed not to change their diet or exercise habits, but when their weight, total fat mass, and waist size were measured at the end of the trial, the researchers found that the people who took actiponin pills lost 1.77% of weight, 5.5% of fat, and 2.8% of their waist size.
At the same time, both weight and fat increased in the placebo control group.
The researchers concluded that actiponin’s weight loss effect was due to AMPK activation.
In a 2021 double-blind and placebo-controlled study, a Gynostemma extract (ActivAMP®) or a placebo (fake) pill was given to 117 overweight and obese adult men and women for 16 weeks. Their body composition, weight, body mass index (BMI), fat distribution, blood markers, and diet were measured before and after the study.
The study found that the herbal extract caused a 1.2% reduction in body weight and fat compared to the placebo group, especially in different body parts depending on gender.
Men lost more total abdominal fat (belly fat or visceral fat), which has been linked to many diseases.
On the other hand, women lost more gynoid fat (hips and thighs, or subcutaneous fat), which is where they usually store it.
The researchers found that the extract from Gynostemma pentaphyllum was able to act like exercise for the cells by turning on AMPK, which helped them get rid of waste, make more mitochondria, and use more sugar from the blood.
They also found that the extract may help treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (having too much fat in the liver) and may lower inflammation.
The researchers concluded that supplementation with Gynostemma can help with weight management when combined with a healthy diet and staying active.
Insulin Resistance and Excess Insulin in the Blood
If you are struggling to lose weight or keep it off, you might have a condition called insulin resistance.
Insulin is a hormone that helps your body use glucose for energy.
Glucose is the main source of fuel for your cells. It comes from the food you eat, especially carbohydrates. When you digest carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose molecules, which enter your bloodstream.
To use glucose for energy, your cells need insulin, which acts like a key to unlock the doors of your cells and let glucose in. Insulin is produced by your pancreas, a gland behind your stomach.
When you have insulin resistance, your cells don’t respond well to insulin. They don’t open their doors easily, so glucose stays in your blood instead of entering your cells.
Your pancreas tries to compensate by making more insulin, but this can lead to hyperinsulinemia (having too much insulin in the blood).
Hyperinsulinemia has been linked to weight gain and obesity in a couple of ways:
- It can increase fat storage. Insulin stimulates the synthesis of fatty acids and inhibits the breakdown of fat in your adipose (fat) tissue. When you have too much insulin in your blood, more glucose is converted into fat and stored in your adipose tissue, which leads to weight gain.
- It can decrease energy expenditure. Insulin regulates the activity of several enzymes and hormones that affect your metabolism and energy balance. When you have too much insulin in your blood, it can suppress the activity of hormones that stimulate fat burning and enzymes that promote heat production. This may reduce your energy expenditure and make you burn fewer calories. However, other lifestyle factors are also at play, so high insulin levels do not always result in reduced energy expenditure.
Therefore, insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia can create a vicious cycle of high blood glucose, high insulin, increased fat storage, decreased energy expenditure, and more weight gain.
This can also increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Jiaogulan Can Prevent or Reverse Insulin Resistance and Excess Insulin
One way to improve insulin resistance and lower insulin levels is to increase glucose uptake by your cells. This means making your cells more sensitive to insulin, so they can take up more glucose from your blood and use it for energy.
Gypenosides, which are the main active compounds in Gynostemma, have been shown to stimulate glucose uptake by your cells in several ways.
As we already saw, one way is by activating AMPK inside your cells, which causes them to use more glucose.
Another way is by increasing the amount of a protein called GLUT4 on the surface of your cells. GLUT4 is like a transporter that carries glucose from your blood into your cells. The more GLUT4 you have on your cell surface, the more glucose you can take up.
Gypenosides can cause more GLUT4 to be present on the outside of fat and muscle cells, which can increase their glucose intake by up to 20 times, lowering blood sugar and improving energy use.
A third way Gynostemma improves insulin sensitivity is by helping to increase the production of mitochondria in the cells.
Some people have problems with their muscles because they do not use enough energy or make enough mitochondria (the parts of the cell that produce energy). This can make them resistant to insulin and have high blood sugar.
Gypenosides have been shown to increase the production of mitochondria by turning on genes for making mitochondria, which can improve energy use and muscle function.
Finally, some gypenosides have been shown to inhibit PTP1B, which is a protein that can stop insulin from working properly by making the insulin signaling weaker, and your body less able to use sugar as energy.
Gynostemma Pentaphyllum Balances the Gut Microbiome
One of the more remarkable properties of Gynostemma is its ability to restore harmony to the gut microbiome - the community of microorganisms that live in our digestive system.
The gut microbiome plays a crucial role in regulating our metabolism, food digestion, and nutrient absorption. When the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut is disrupted, it can lead to many metabolic disorders, including weight gain and obesity.
Several scientific studies have investigated Jiaogulan’s ability to promote weight loss by affecting the gut microbiome.
One 2019 study published in the journal Diabetes found that a gypenosides extract from Jiaogulan changed the types of bacteria in the gut of obese mice, and how these bacteria interact with bile acids and certain hormones.
Bile acids are substances that are produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. They help to break down fats and cholesterol in the intestines.
Gynostemma’s gypenosides were found to inhibit an enzyme that degrades bile acids. This results in higher levels of certain bile acids that have beneficial effects on blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
The herb also influences the production of hormones that control appetite and glucose metabolism. When we are either full or hungry these hormones signal to the brain and regulate how much glucose is released into the bloodstream.
But what does this have to do with the gut microbiome? Well, it turns out that these effects of Jiaogulan depend on the presence of specific bacteria in the gut.
When mice were given antibiotics to wipe out their gut bacteria, Jiaogulan lost its ability to improve their metabolic health. On the other hand, when mice received a transplant of gut bacteria from other mice that had been treated with Jiaogulan, they also experienced the same benefits.
This means that Jiaogulan can modulate the composition and activity of the gut microbiome, favoring beneficial bacteria and suppressing harmful ones.
This creates a positive feedback loop, where the improved gut microbiome enhances the effects of Jiaogulan on bile acids and hormones, which in turn improves the metabolic health of the host.
They tested different forms of Jiaogulan on obese mice that were fed a high-fat diet and found that Jiaogulan consistently helped the mice lose weight, lower their blood sugar and cholesterol levels by rebalancing their gut microbiome, increasing beneficial bacteria, and reducing pathogenic bacteria.
Another study found that even in normal (not overweight) mice that were fed a high-fat diet to induce weight gain, a polysaccharides extract from Jiaogulan was able to prevent excessive fat accumulation at least in part by regulating the gut microbiome. The higher the dose of polysaccharides, the stronger the effect, with the highest dose group gaining 21% less weight than the control group that was not given the extract.
These findings suggest that Jiaogulan is a natural and effective way to support weight loss by restoring the harmony of the gut microbiome.
Gynostemma for Better Workouts and Recovery
Exercise is not only good for your health but also essential for losing weight and keeping it off. To make your weight loss plan work, you need to get moving regularly.
Gynostemma is a favorite among athletes and gym enthusiasts because it can help boost physical performance by giving them more energy, strength, and endurance.
This is important if you exercise in order to lose weight because it can help you burn more calories, increase your metabolism, and make your muscles feel less tired. This in turn can help you achieve your goals faster.
When you take Gynostemma, you may notice that your workouts become easier and more enjoyable. You may be able to push yourself harder and longer or go through your usual routine with less effort.
How does it achieve this? Jiaogulan’s gypenosides have been shown to stimulate the production of nitric oxide in the body, which is a molecule that widens blood vessels and increases blood flow. This can improve oxygen delivery and nutrient uptake by the muscles, enhancing their function and recovery.
Jiaogulan can also increase the activity of enzymes involved in energy metabolism, such as AMPK, which helps the body burn fat and glucose for fuel, boosting energy levels and endurance.
In one 2023 clinical trial published in the Journal of Phytotherapy Research, 50 healthy adults were given a Jiaogulan extract and another 50 adults a placebo (a fake supplement) for 12 weeks.
When the people who took the Jiaogulan extract were given exercise tests, they had higher oxygen use, lower fat levels, lower tiredness, and lower perceived difficulty than the people who took the placebo.
The researchers concluded that these effects were at least in part due to increased amounts of nitric oxide in the blood of the Jiaogulan group.
Jiaogulan may also help with exercise by reducing the levels of lactic acid, which causes muscle soreness and fatigue.
Finally, its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects can protect the muscles from damage and improve recovery after exercise.
Jiaogulan May Reduce Your Appetite and Junk Food Cravings
Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is important for managing cravings and preventing sudden spikes and crashes in energy. Fluctuations in blood sugar can trigger intense cravings for sugary and high-calorie foods.
Jiaogulan has shown the ability to balance blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.
By promoting stable blood sugar levels, Jiaogulan may help you have fewer cravings, especially for sweets and unhealthy snacks.
In addition, some of the plant's gypenosides can inhibit PTP1B, which is an insulin regulator protein that can also weaken the signaling of an important hormone called leptin. Leptin tells your brain when you are full and when you need to burn fat, so weakening its signal can make you eat more and gain weight. By preventing this effect, Jiaogulan may reduce your food cravings.
Furthermore, the use of Gynostemma promotes the activation of AMPK in fat and muscle cells, which has an appetite-reducing effect according to research published in the Journal of Neuroendocrinology.
Finally, the herb’s ability to promote a healthy balance of your gut bacteria may have an additional appetite reduction effect.
Jiaogulan May Improve Mood and Reduce Stress
Emotional eating is a common response to stress, anxiety, or low mood, and it can significantly derail weight loss efforts.
Jiaogulan is known for its adaptogenic properties, meaning it can help the body adapt and respond better to a wide variety of stressors.
For example, one double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical study showed that the herb reduced anxiety and stress by more than 20% in people with high anxiety and by more than 10% in normal people, as measured by standard anxiety and stress tests.
This means that Jiaogulan can indirectly help you control your appetite and cravings by reducing stress and improving your mood because when you feel more balanced emotionally, you are less likely to turn to food as a source of comfort or distraction.
Incorporating Jiaogulan into Your Weight Loss Journey
If you are considering incorporating Jiaogulan into your weight loss journey, it is essential to understand how to do so effectively and safely. The herb can be a valuable addition to your overall weight management plan when used correctly.
Following are some considerations when incorporating the herb into your weight loss regimen.
Choosing the Right Jiaogulan Product for You
When selecting any product, especially one you are planning to take long-term, it is essential to opt for reputable brands that adhere to high-quality standards.
Look for products that are derived from organic Jiaogulan plants and undergo testing for pesticides and heavy metals to ensure quality.
Typically, Jiaogulan is available in various forms, including capsules, extracts, powders, or teas.
You should consider which one of these would be most easily integrated into your lifestyle. This is important because you need to make sure you are taking your Jiaogulan daily and at the recommended doses for maximum benefit.
So for example, if you are a busy professional with little free time during the day, taking capsules is probably the best choice.
If on the other hand, you have enough free time and you enjoy having a relaxing tea during the day, then drinking Gynostemma tea may be the best option for you.
If you love smoothies and are already taking some other herbs or supplements with a smoothie, then Jiaogulan powder or extract may be the way to go.
Of course, you can also take a combination of these, opting for capsules during weekdays at work, and enjoying a cup of Jiaogulan tea in the evening or weekend before or after a workout.
Jiaogulan Dosage for Weight Loss
The appropriate dosage of Jiaogulan for weight loss can vary depending on factors such as age, overall health, and individual needs.
In addition, while Jiaogulan is generally considered safe for consumption, it is important to be aware of potential side effects and take necessary precautions, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions or are taking prescription medications.
It is best to start by following these safety and dosage instructions or to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.
After you have taken Jiaogulan for 10-20 days without any issues, you can experiment with increasing your dosage and monitoring how that impacts your weight loss and overall energy levels and well-being.
Combining Gynostemma with a Healthy Diet and Exercise
Gynostemma should not be seen as a standalone solution for weight loss. To achieve optimal results, it is crucial to combine it with a balanced diet and regular exercise.
Focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, while minimizing processed and high-calorie foods.
It is also vital to engage in physical activities that you enjoy, such as cardio exercises and strength training, to support your weight loss efforts.
Gynostemma can complement your overall lifestyle changes and help support your body's natural weight management processes.
Monitoring Progress and Adjusting as Needed
As with any dietary or lifestyle changes, it is important to monitor your progress and adjust when necessary.
Keep track of your weight, body measurements, and overall well-being to evaluate the effectiveness of your weight loss plan.
If you don't see the desired results or experience any adverse effects, consult with a healthcare professional for further guidance. They can help assess your progress and make appropriate recommendations to ensure your weight loss journey remains safe and effective.
Overall, Gynostemma pentaphyllum offers a wide range of benefits to support weight loss and overall health, making it an excellent choice for a holistic approach to weight loss and wellness.
While it has benefits as a stand-alone weight loss supplement, its true value shines when it is combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
It can improve your energy metabolism in a variety of ways, reduce your appetite, and increase physical performance, making it more likely for you to stick to your weight loss regimen and achieve your goals quicker and with less effort.
So why wait? Start your journey towards a healthier you today by incorporating Gynostemma pentaphyllum into your daily routine!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does berberine and Jiaogulan help weight loss?
A: Both berberine and Jiaogulan are activators of AMPK, which causes the body to burn more calories and fat.
Berberine comes from the root of the Berberis aristata plant. Just like Jiaogulan, it can improve how your body responds to insulin, making it easier for you to lose weight naturally.
A study found that taking 1,500mg of berberine every day for three months helped people with metabolic syndrome and lowered their waist size and insulin levels.
While combining Jiaogulan and berberine is likely to have synergistic effects on weight loss, there have not been any studies on the efficacy or safety of using them together.
Therefore, it is best to consult with your healthcare provider for further guidance.
Q: Does Jiaogulan give you energy?
A: Yes, Jiaogulan can give you energy. It has been traditionally used for centuries by Chinese farmers to prevent fatigue and energize the body.
It is popular among athletes and gym enthusiasts because it can help boost physical performance by increasing energy levels.
The herb has been shown to stimulate the production of nitric oxide in the body, which is a molecule that increases blood flow and improves oxygen delivery and nutrient uptake by the muscles, enhancing their function and recovery.
Jiaogulan can also increase the activity of enzymes involved in energy metabolism, such as AMPK, which helps the body burn fat and glucose for fuel, boosting energy levels.
Q: What does Gynostemma do for the body?
A: Gynostemma is an adaptogenic herb that helps the body and mind cope with stress and balance various systems and organs.
Gynostemma benefits may include increasing energy, reducing inflammation, boosting antioxidants, and supporting the immune, digestive, nervous, reproductive, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems.